beef stew with red wine & onions

6    |   
Prep Time:
30 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
1-1/2 hours to 2 hours

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Essentially a pared-down version of boeuf bourgignon, this stew is a perfect choice to make on Sundays. Why? To use up the leftover red wine from Saturday night, of course.


3 pounds beef stew, preferably chuck
salt and pepper
canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-1/2 cups red wine, such as pinot noir
1 cup good beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste


Trim excess fat off meat, then cut meat into 2-inch pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a 5- to 7-quart Dutch oven with a thin film of the oil and set pot over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add enough meat to cover bottom in one layer. Cook, without stirring, until meat lifts easily from pot with tongs and is well-browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer meat to a plate and continue with remaining meat, adding more oil to pot in between batches as needed.

When last batch of meat has been removed, add the butter to pot, then the onions and a good pinch of salt, and cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle the sugar over onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are limp and golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour and thyme and increase heat to high. Stir 1 minute, then pour in the wine and broth and let liquid come to a boil. Stir in the tomato paste.

Return meat and any accumulated juices to pot, let liquid come to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender when pierced with a fork, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or transfer to a preheated 325°F oven and cook for the same amount of time.

add mushrooms and pearl onions: use only 1 large yellow onion in recipe. While stew cooks, blanch 24 pearl onions in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain. With a paring knife, peel off skins. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons oil in a wide saute pan and add the pearl onions. Cook, rolling them around in the butter and oil, until slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms to pan and sprinkle with salt; cover pan and let mushrooms sweat until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer them to bowl with onions. When the stew has cooked for 1 hour, add pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot, then continue cooking until stew is done.